No Tomorrow (Page 76)

Where is she?

Ladybug, have you finally flown away from me?

I light another cigarette. Now I’ve got one in each hand.

She’s gone.

No more soft voices. No smiles. No love. No more hope.

No more peace. No more normal.

The silence is maddening, thrashing in my brain like a wild animal.

The emptiness is turning my blood to liquid ice.

I’m shivering from the cold.

She left you.

They all left you.

No.

Drink. It will melt the ice. You need the warmth and the heat in your veins.

No.

The drugs will cure you. You’re sick. It will numb the pain. Silence the silence.

No.

No one will know. You’re alone. You’re always alone. You only have me. I won’t tell.

No. They love me.

You disappoint them. They deserve better. They’ve run away. To hide from you.

They wouldn’t do that.

Evan, you dumb f**k. They already have.

Go away. Please just go away.

Fly away from it all. You know you have wings. Use them. Come with me. Stand on the balcony. Just six steps. Fly with me. You’ll never hurt again. You’ll be free, just like me. Watch me fly. Do what I do.

No. I don’t have wings.

Shhh. You can sing and fly just like me. I won’t let you fall.

No. You’re not real.

I snatch up the phone again and smash my finger on the speed-dial for Piper’s house.

Ring.

Ring.

Ring.

Ring.

Ring.

“Hi, we’re not home right now. Leave us a message. Thanks!”

F**k.

What. The. F**k.

I struggle to use my calm, sober, I’ve-got-it-together, nothing-to-worry-about-here voice.

I’d probably have an easier time singing the f*****g National Anthem right now.

“Piper…I need you, baby. Where are you? I can’t find you or Lyric. Please don’t do this. I’m better now. I love you. Please come back.”

I pace again.

I walk.

Out the door and down the stairs.

So many f*****g stairs, I can’t even count.

Every time I tell them don’t give me stairs and yet, they still give me all the f*****g stairs.

I’m walking.

Out into the night, into the cool, open air.

My heart is aching, my fingers are numb.

My vision is blurred at the edges like a burnt photograph. Everything is fading away.

I walk.

Step. Step. Step. Step.

One, two, three, four…

Every step grounding me. Clearing my mind. Moving me forward. Away, away, away from the voices.

Walking.

For as long as it takes, as far as it takes.

As long as I’m walking, I’m not able to fly.

Chapter Forty-Five

The doctor’s words are still ricocheting around in my head, even though I’m sure a full five minutes has passed since she spoke them in her soothing voice.

“I’m so sorry, Miss Karel. There’s no heartbeat. It appears the baby stopped growing at approximately nine weeks.”

Three weeks ago, my tiny baby left me.

I didn’t even know.

How could I not know?

And Blue, my love, never knew that a baby was waiting for him to come home. A baby that I wanted to surprise him with, in person, so we could do it right this time. Together.

A baby that he was never supposed to miss a moment of.

Gone.

Pain ripples through me and I shake my head as tears spill down my cheeks, and I hug myself, clutching my stomach.

My sobs are muffling the doctor’s voice, drowning her words as she continues to say things no mother should ever hear.

“Are you sure?” I ask desperately as the nurse helps me sit up. “I’ve been fine. Totally fine, actually. I haven’t been sick or had any cramps or bleeding or anything. I think it’s a mistake. Or maybe the baby is tiny? I’m very petite, and so is my daughter. She was just barely five pounds when she was born. At full term.” I gulp and try to catch my breath. “Can you check again?”

Dr. Powell offers me a sympathetic shake of her head, snapping off her purple latex gloves.

“I’m sorry, Piper. There’s no doubt. I know how devastating this is for you, and I’m so very sorry.”

I’m wracked with waves of nausea, lightheadedness, and an overwhelming sense of detached reality.

At home, an itty-bitty black T-shirt with Blue’s band logo on it waits for him next to the bed.

If I could just get this ridiculous paper robe off, get out of here, go home, and call Blue. I can tell him all about the baby, and none of this will be happening.

I can make it stop. I can bring him back.

It’ll all stop. Our tiny one will be safe, nestled in my womb, waiting to come into our world and wear its little T-shirt.

Blue will be so happy. He’ll tell me the baby will name itself—and I’ll believe him.

Lyric will play lullabies on her harp next to my stomach.

It’ll be a boy. I can feel that in my soul. Son of a rock legend who would follow in his daddy’s footsteps.

Another kickass kid, Blue would say with that sexy, confident, proud grin of his that turns me to jelly.

I can see our baby so clearly, so vividly.

He’s real. He can’t be gone.

If only I had begged Blue to come home, if only I had flown out to London to see him when he asked weeks ago.

If I had not kept the baby a secret, if I had let Blue—or anyone else—know this tiny life existed, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe he would have felt how loved and wanted he was by so many, and he would have stayed.

I’m admitted to the hospital for a procedure later this afternoon that will take my baby away forever.

I call Ditra, and we cry together like we’ve done many times since we were little girls, but this time is the hardest, the worst, the unimaginable.

Ditra takes control, arranging to stay at my house tonight to keep my daughter and my pets company. Tomorrow she’ll take Lyric to school, then she and Billy will come get me and my car and take me home to recover.

Honestly I don’t think I’ll ever recover from this.

How does anyone?

I should call my mother, but I don’t. I can’t. I’m not ready to talk to anyone. I refuse to share my loss with anyone else until I can talk to Blue.

I have no idea how I’ll find the words to tell him we lost our baby, and for a few moments I grasp at the idea of never telling him at all. I can protect him from this heartache, save him from more distress that will only add to everything else he’s dealing with in his life right now.

Something awful like this could send him right over the edge again, back into the seductive arms of drugs and alcohol.

Do I dare risk all that?

Yes. I have to.

I stare at the ring on my finger. We promised to love each other for all the tomorrows. No matter what. Lies and secrets will haunt us and destroy us eventually. The truth always finds a way to take on a life of its own and come out.

Taking a deep breath, I decide I’ll call him in the morning when it’s all over. My cell phone is dead in my purse, anyway, and his hotel info is saved on it. If I call him tomorrow, he won’t have to worry about me all night.

We can survive his addictions again if we have to, but I don’t think we’d ever survive deceit. I’d lose him forever. And that, I cannot and will not risk.

Chapter Forty-Six

As soon as I’m home I call Blue’s cell phone, and it goes directly to his voicemail.

S**t. He always forgets to charge his phone, so it must be dead.

I leave him a message: “Hi hon, it’s me. Give me a call when you can. I miss you, and I love you.”

I dig my cell phone out of my purse and plug it in, waiting for it to have enough power to turn on. When the screen finally lights up, I’m shocked at the notifications I see on my screen.

One hundred and twenty-eight missed calls.

Twenty-five voice messages.

Ten text messages.

Holy hell.

All but four of the voice messages are him breathing, or the sound of the phone clicking with a disconnect.

The four actual messages range from sweet to what sounds like an all-out meltdown.

I’m better. Please come back.

Those familiar words he used to say so often when things were bad between us and he was fighting his demons. Somehow he got there without even knowing the truth yet, and now I’m petrified. What happened? Did he freak out when he couldn’t reach me and just assumed I left him?

I hunt down the hotel information saved in my phone and call his room, but there’s no answer. According to the email he sent me a few days ago, he should still be staying at this hotel. Immediately I call the front desk.

“Hello, can you tell me if Mr. Von Bleu in room 4032 has checked out? I’ve called his room and there’s no answer. This is Piper Karel, his fiancée.”

“One moment.” I hear the receptionist clicking a keyboard on the other end. “I am showing that Mr. Von Bleu is still checked in. Would you like to leave us a message at the front desk to forward to him?”

My heart sinks even lower. “No, thank you.”

I chew my fingernail with worry and sit on the chest at the end of my bed. I’m still bleeding and cramping, and feel groggy from the anesthesia yesterday and the painkillers I took this morning. I was given instruction by the doctor to rest and give myself time to heal mentally and physically. I’ve already spoken to Human Resources and requested a week of my vacation time.

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